Building A Rebound-Ready Business Development Program

Next to the Great Recession of 2008, the 2020 pandemic was one of the most devastating events for the ad industry. If you’re like most agencies, COVID brought disruptions, stressors, and challenges. An estimated 49,000 jobs were lost globally, according to Forrester. 

The good news is, we can expect a huge bounce back. Statistics are looking promising, especially for agencies that strategically invest in crucial parts of their business. GroupM projects that the ad marketplace will bounce back and reach $242.2 billion, a year-over-year increase of 6.2% in 2021. 

However, prioritizing new business is not just a recovery plan. It is a formula for predictable revenue, regardless of the economic climate. The question then becomes, how can your agency take full advantage of the impending rebound to create a lasting growth strategy? 

The 4A’s Agency Growth Survey found that success in the post-COVID era will come down to focusing on these core areas:

  1. Top-line revenue growth
  2. Profit growth
  3. Winning new clients

To boost profits, revenue, and new business, you need a concrete plan—one that produces predictable results. Rather than passively waiting around for referrals or inbound leads, you need to take control of your agency’s destiny by proactively targeting six- and seven-figure opportunities with outbound business development.


What Is Outbound Business Development?

Outbound business development proactively targets prospects who have not yet expressed interest in services offered by your agency through channels such as cold calling, cold email, social media, and direct mail.

When done right, agencies can reshape how prospective clients view their business’s critical needs, challenges, or opportunities. Conducting outbound activities allows you to introduce prospects to new ideas, solutions, or services they may not have sought out on their own. Outbound often enables you to bypass the RFP process because you get to form relationships with prospects before they begin their search.  

Today, we can’t use in-person networking events and conferences to generate leads. In a time of uncertainty, we need to rely on proven, measurable lead generation strategies. Unlike referrals, which you have little control over, outbound is a proactive way of generating results. 

When performing set amounts of outbound activities, you can expect them to convert to a certain number of meetings, opportunities, and eventually closes. Tracking these metrics allows you to identify conversion rates across your sales funnel. 

Once you know your conversion rates, you can dial outbound activities up or down, better forecast revenue, and make any needed adjustments to hit your targets. By filling your pipeline with steady leads, you can forecast future growth and finally get off the revenue rollercoaster. 

Outbound is often confused with mass emailing or telemarketing. But effective outbound biz dev focuses on quality over quantity. It uses personalized campaigns that focus on your prospect’s urgent problems, positions you as an expert, and builds relationships. Because it’s not a spray and pray approach, it requires planning. A process called a Target Market Strategy.


Why You Need a Target Market Strategy

Your Target Market Strategy discovers pivotal problems your agency uniquely solves, identifies your right-to-win audience, and packages your knowledge into compelling offers that inspire prospects to start a relationship with you.

It is more important than ever to be efficient and strategic when rebounding. Your Target Market Strategy gives your outbound business development programs direction. If you’re looking to bounce back more efficiently, it will save your agency time and money, gain more market share, and win bigger deals. Here’s how:


1. Saves time and money

Target Market Strategy increases focus and enables you to avoid chasing prospects that are too small, too big, or simply not the right fit. 


2. Win more market share in your niche

You can leverage your expertise within a category, target audience, or discipline to target prospects who will value your knowledge. This results in more market share.


3. Positions you to win bigger deals

Rather than merely accepting any opportunity that comes your way, your Target Market Strategy empowers you to start relationships with clients with the budget capacity to retain your most profitable services–a winning combination. 


The Bottom Line

In one of the most uncertain economies in recent memory, agencies must build a rebound-ready new business program. Outbound business development is the most efficient way for agencies to drive top-line revenue, profit and win new clients. 

But to implement an effective outbound program and best take advantage of the impending bounce-back, agencies must start with a Target Market Strategy. To learn more about Target Market Strategy, watch my masterclass: Three Keys to Landing 6- and 7-Figure Opportunities Predictably.

Christian Banach

Christian Banach

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